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The Smear Campaign of the Abuser

"Criticizing others is a dangerous thing, not so much because you may make mistakes about them, but because you may be revealing the truth about yourself".
Judge Harold Medina

At the end of a relationship with abusers, they begin what Lundy Bancroft has coined the preemptive strike.?They will hurl accusations, often projection?at their victim.

To avoid exposure of his own abusive behaviour, the abuser will begin a smear campaign against his victim often directed at her closest friends, coworkers and even family. On closer examination, the words of the abuser often reflect his own behaviour.

"Abusers increasingly use a tactic I call "preemptive strike," where he accuses the victim of doing all the things that he has done."
Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

I think we can all relate to the way our abusers resort to spreading lies, malicious projection, finger-pointing, backstabbing, false rumours by factless innuendo and cruel insinuation and recruiting allies who join the abusers to augment his smear campaign. This rallying of troops to his 'camp', the enablers that work with them, is the well-worn tactic of the personality disordered fending off exposure. His lies and calumny an effective coverup of his own actions. His bruised ego results in him wanting to shame the shamer who could expose his abusive behaviour.

An abuser will quickly 'devalue and discard' and break off contact, claiming to be the victim of cruelty from us. His victims are cast in a defensive role by his outburst of lies and character assassination.

Abusers will ruthlessly recruit our families, closest friends, employers, colleagues and competitors in his attempt to build support for his smear campaign. Don't expect other people to understand. They don't know about this type of abuser - yet!

Even the victim's relatives, friends, and colleagues are amenable to the considerable charm, persuasiveness, and manipulativeness of the abuser and to his impressive thespian skills. The abuser offers a plausible rendition of the events and interprets them to his favor. Others rarely have a chance to witness an abusive exchange first hand and at close quarters. In contrast, the victims are often on the verge of a nervous breakdown: harassed, unkempt, irritable, impatient, abrasive, and hysterical.?/FONT>

Confronted with this contrast between a polished, self-controlled, and suave abuser and his harried casualties
it is easy to reach the conclusion that the real victim is the abuser, or that both parties abuse each other equally. The prey's acts of self-defense, assertiveness, or insistence on her rights are interpreted as aggression, lability, or a mental health problem.
Narcissism by Proxy, FAQ#42 By: Dr. Sam Vaknin

The abuser has no understanding of the hurt and emotional devastation he creates. He will never know this pain. However, he will only be able to pull it off temporarily because other people don't understand this first-strike tactic of the personality disordered. They have no personal experience with it and are unable to recognize it. The abuser will work swiftly and forcefully to blame the target to ward off any exposure and shame for his own behaviour. And, to seal the impact will state to his audience that his target denies what he is saying. This can be very effective unless others become aware of this tactic of the abuser initiating a smear campaign. 

His victims may appear to be vindictive in any attempts to disprove his allegations. His recruits see him as the injured party, pitiful and in need of help. Sadly, the abuser will often escalate his smear campaign and the victim becomes subjected to a multi-focused attack. The deceived and gullible recruits believing him will take up his cause and do the dirty work as his allies to protect him and to attack on his behalf.

The abuser will have warned others that you are making false accusations against him, thus, attempts by you to refocus accusations on the N can backfire on you by validating what he has already said about you. He will, in all likelihood, have persuaded others that he is the victim and you are the crazy one. Don't fall for this carefully-staged plan of the abuser. Take the high road and ignore the smear campaign. In most cases when abusers no longer get their payoff of attention from bad mouthing you, they stop.

Defence Strategy: If anyone tries to talk to you about him, hold up your hand (like a stop-sign) and say something like "I don't want to hear anything about him. He's lying" Say no more. If it continues:"My lawyer recommends I warn people they will have to testify where they heard that should this turns into a libel/slander lawsuit." Watch them scatter quickly when hearing this. This can cause people to stop cold and have another look at what theyve been told. It's not necessary to defend ourselves at all.

Can you find it funny? We hope so. When people tell you what s/he's saying, try the good old-fashioned knee-slapping belly laugh at what s/he says. Friends, when confronted with your laughter reaction will find it funny too. Very effective. You say nothing. You just laugh. It works. You will need, of course, to conduct yourself perfectly to discredit the abuser's claims.

The abuser is now at his summit, and about to topple. This abuser will not engage in a fair fight, and it will ultimately backfire on him. Slowly his newly-recruited allies become aware of the truth. Suspecting his real motives and questioning his actions, they slowly remove themselves and walk away. The ones that hang on are the most dim-witted. Their bad judgement in supporting him is easily transparent. They support the abuser for their own Mephistophelian goals.

The battered emotions of the victims will craft thoughts of revenge, vengeance and justice, but his targets, often reeling from these unexpected cruel lies and alientation, will find little solace in their mentally-constructed retaliation thoughts.

Your abuser has anticipated your cries and pleas of innocense against his cruel lies and expects you to retalilate. He enjoys his victim's role. He basks in the limelight of all that attention he orchestrates. He has set the bait and your strength will come from remaining 'unbaitable' against this onslaught. Hang on tight, it's going to be a very cruel and bumpy ride.

Over the course of time, this abusers audience will abandon him. Those he worked hard to secure by portraying the victim have left. His very actions will alienate anyone still near him. They begin to avoid him like the plague as the discrepancy of his lies and actions surfaces.

We may be able to 'nip it in the bud' by anticipating and emotionally preparing for this common response from the mentally disordered.

Ultimately there will be no audience gathered to listen. That is the self-inflicted fate of his own behaviour. Eventually the abuser faces humiliation and exposure and will withdraw into final isolation. Long after we have healed and moved on, this final treachery will forever be the single act that stands out in our thoughts.

Our ultimate victory is the bitter/sweet irony of seeing the abuser portraying himself as the victim as he continues his life-long deeply-ingrained blame-game and his last remaining audience only the walls to hear his lies.

From "If" by Rudyard Kipling

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools

"Our credulity is greatest concerning the things we know least about. And since we know least about ourselves, we are ready to believe all that is said about us. Hence the mysterious power of both flattery and calumny."
Eric Hoffer

"Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny."

One suggestion is to have your lawyer send the abuser and his allies a cease and desist letter with demand for retraction. However, be aware this type of abuser may ave us served with the same right back!! However, that document may be useful in litigation/custody/parental alienation situations. Exposure is the dreaded kryptonite to an abuser. But it pays to be wary of escalating varieties of attacks as the abuser fears his exposure. In court proceedings, have your lawyer ask the accuser to provide proof of his accusations. Teach children that "talking behind other's back" is poor behaviour.

Often the best defence is to completely remove yourself from the abuser and those he is able to fool. Unfortunately, this often includes our closest friends and family. He will work hard to keep these groups of people separated. Naive, easily-deceived people, may be forever lost to us. Conducting ourselves with grace and dignity will get us through this. Do not engage in retaliatory mud-slinging that can be used against us, but do let these proxies know they can and will be subpoened in a potential defamation of character action to provide evidence of the origin of the lies he spreads.

So what, if anything, can we do?

Thinking about trying to warn others?

"I was told he would start a smear campaign of lies  against me - he apparently did this with his previous X and the one before that too."

On a funnier note, some 'rebuttal' comments we've heard from our members: "That's the same thing he said about you!." "I'm not surprised he said that. He said the same thing about his xwife." Suggested Response: (chuckling with a grinning wink) "Do you believe him?" "It is not only false, it is a smear campaign."

Or, simply, how about...
"I'm sorry he feels that way. I prefer not to talk about him at all actually." Then change the subject.

If you are asked say
"I should have listened to the people who tried to warned me to stay away from him. They told me they wouldn't go near him with a ten-foot pole."
"I'm glad I was told to look up information on pathological liars/AsPD/NPD perhaps you should look up some of that information too."
"He told me himself that he would smear my good name and said he can always find people stupid enough to believe him."
"Watch out for your gold teeth around him. I've been told he likes to makes a beeline right for the wallet."
"Have you read {Dr. Vaknin's} book on NPD?"
"Friends recommended I warn you about him. At least I can tell them I tried."
"I've been advised to warn people, even where I work,  that he may try to smear my good name."
"I've been told he was able to fool quite a few people."
"Apparently he's been smearing my good name with a lot of people, but nobody is buying his story."

People calling?

"I need to interrupt you here, but I am going to have to stop any discussion with you about (N/P) and anything s/he says or does, as I have been advised that s/he is using this tactic to discredit me and involving other people to try to have contact with me. So, I need to stop this discussion and, unfortunately, should it continue, I've been advised to just hang up on anyone who does this." stick to your guns on this. Keep it near your phone and if anybody tries to elaborate, repeat it word for word with no further explanation. Repeat once, then hang up. Your credibibility will shine through.

Do you call him Psycho or N? You may be getting involved in a reverse smear campaign. Don't do that.

Be careful, the mentally disordered, facing exposure of his abuse, can be dangerous.

We have used the male gender. Your abuser may be female.


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